By British Virgin Islands Government
British Virgin Islands (BVI) – The British Virgin Islands (BVI) represented the 14 Associate Member Countries (AMCs) of ECLAC during a virtual dialogue with the chair of the UN regional body Costa Rica, facilitated by ECLAC’s office of the secretary, part of preparations for the IV Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development that will take place from March 15 – 18 2021.
BVI Special Envoy of the premier, Benito Wheatley, discussed with the Costa Rica chairmanship the challenges and priorities of the 14 AMCs in the BVI’s capacity as vice-chair of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC). Among other things, he highlighted the AMCs’ vulnerabilities as small societies located in the hurricane belt, the social and economic impact of COVID-19, the measures being taken to advance post-pandemic recovery and the genuine desire by the AMCs for sustainable development.
Costa Rica was represented by ambassador and general-director of foreign policy in the ministry of foreign affairs and worship, Her Excellency Adriana Solano Laclé, he was supported by the embassy of Costa Rica in Chile and the Costa Rica Permanent Representation to the UN in New York. The dialogue was facilitated by the secretary of the Commission of ECLAC, Luis Yáñez, who was joined by director of the subregional headquarters for the Caribbean, Diane Quarless, as well as members of their respective teams.
The virtual dialogue highlighted the shared cultural and historical heritage of Latin America and the AMCs and the economic and social issues that link them. The common threat of extreme weather to both the AMCs and Central America such as stronger and more frequent hurricanes driven by climate change, was also emphasised. Building climate resilience and driving sustainable, green and inclusive development were identified as opportunities for collaboration involving the AMCs.
The purpose of the virtual dialogue was to initially identify synergies where joint work could be coordinated for the benefit of the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in the post-pandemic social and economic recovery process. The exchange on the AMCs will feed into preparations for the upcoming IV Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development.
Speaking on the importance of the virtual dialogue, Benito Wheatley said: “The Costa Rica chairmanship of ECLAC is being very comprehensive in their scope and approach to the sustainable development of Latin America and the Caribbean. This is highly commendable as the region begins to look beyond COVID-19. The key to the AMCs’ involvement will be creative and innovative partnerships for sustainable development with regard to the environment, climate resilience and post-pandemic recovery.”
The virtual dialogue took place on February 4, 2021. The BVI is vice- chair of the CDCC, a subsidiary body of ECLAC, represented by premier Andrew A. Fahie. The BVI is also vice-chair of the presiding officers of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Costa Rica is the current chair of ECLAC and co-chair of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People along with the UK and France.